Thursday, August 12, 2010

Koala: Virtuality, itself, in this actual/virtual Harbin ethnography, Millennial-old, sophisticated communicative processes among other species

Harbin ethnography:

... Numerous individual visions (expressions of subjectivity) of the freedom of the 1960s have given form to life at actual Harbin, as well as the information technologies of virtual Harbin. I engage a variety of these Harbin histories in this chapter.

Virtuality, itself, in the way I'm exploring it here in this actual/virtual Harbin ethnography, may have emerged at least since the development of language, possibly 150,000 – 200,000 years ago, after the evolutionary adaptation of the larynx developed (Deacon). In exploring the relationship between virtual worlds as technology and virtuality, I'd like to suggest here that the larynx itself is a (biological) technology for sound and phoneme production, which made it possible, eventually, for language, and thus symbolization, to emerge, also, in a broad sense. Hoot communication among non-human primates, as well as millennial-old, sophisticated communicative processes among other non-primate species, such as whales, dolphins, and canines, are perhaps early forms of pan-species virtuality (Deacon), made possible by the technologies of bodyminds, e.g. vocalizing and sonar processes. I draw my definition of technology from Professor Manuel Castells, who in turn draws it from Harvey Brooks, who draws his from Daniel Bell: "technologies allow people to manipulate information through replication." ('The definition of technology for this course that I use is that it's the use of scientific knowledge to specify ways of doing things in a reproducible manner.') Writing's emergence in the Tigris-Euphrates valley area (Schmandt-Besserat 2007) around 5500 years ago, represents another key technological emergence giving new form to symbolic processes, that then have effects, through narrative, on human bodyminds, virtually. Memory, too, informed by narratives, in both cultures with and without writing, as well as among other species is an expression of virtuality as I understand this concept, as well (Boellstorff 2008: 33). Virtuality is produced by the technologies of communication. Virtual Harbin is an expression of such technologically produced virtuality, emerging from symbolic processes in the form of digital technologies, as well as from actual Harbin's place and culture.

Virtual Harbin's unfolding 'realness,' and thus virtuality's realness, characterized ethnographically, vis-a-vis actual Harbin will emerge with study over time. ...

( - August 12, 2010)

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